Glacial Systems & Landscapes: Glacial Systems

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  • Inputs
    • Glacial Systems
      • Stores
        • Glacier, Meltwater (on and within), Rock
      • Flows
        • Meltwater, Debris
      • Outputs
        • Meltwater, snow (evaporate), Sublimate, Snow (blown away), ice falls from snout (icebergs)
      • Glacial Budget
        • Input = accumulation
        • Output = ablation
        • Budget = shows increase/decrease, advance/retreat
        • Upper glacier = more accumulation = zone of accumulation
        • Lower glacier = more ablation = zone of ablation
        • Place where accumulation and ablation equal = equilibrium point
        • Positive regime = more accumulation than ablation = advances
          • A.K.A Positive Mass Balance
          • High accumulation in upper zone
        • Negative regime = less accumulation than ablation = retreats
          • Low accumulation in upper zone
          • A.K.A Negative Mass Balance
        • Dynamic equilibrium = same accumulation/ablation over year
          • Stays same size/position of snout doesn't change
          • Side note: there are short term variations
        • Over several years = overall trend is retreat, however, some years may still advance
          • Shown as fluctuations on graph
        • Changes in global temp over long periods affect glacial budget
          • E.g Little Ice Age - very cold for hundreds of years meant overall trend during this time was increase
            • Global temps rise again and glaciers start retreating
      • Feedbacks
        • Negative = ice input increases = glacier speed up = more ice/water output = mass remains constant
        • Positive = ice has high albedo if glacier retreats = less ice = less suns energy reflected = more absorbed = temp rise = further retreat
    • Snow, Condensation, Sublimation, Rock

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